This Article is About
home security system
home invasions
personal crimes
unlocked doors
exterior doors
doors and windows
Home Burglaries
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The Stats

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, over 5 million home burglaries occur annually in the US, or every 15.4 seconds according to the FBI. This statistic does not include burglaries conducted during home invasions that are classified instead as personal crimes by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Finally the cost of property crimes are estimated by the FBI to be 15.7 billion dollars per year. These sobering statistics become shocking when law enforcement agencies estimate that 90 percent of burglaries are preventable.

Doors & Windows

When one considers that most burglars enter homes through unlocked doors or poorly locked entrances, burglary prevention becomes less rocket science and more akin to the demonstration of common sense. It is, according to Crime-Safety-Security, "the most preventable of crimes." All exterior doors' locks should be inspected for strength and durability with a preference for Grade-1 and Grade-2 quality locks. Doors with glass should have double key locks to prevent a burglar from breaking the glass and reaching in to unlock the door. All basement, first-story and second-story windows should have locks and those that are more private may require more than one type of window lock to prevent determined thieves. If applicable, keep your garage door closed and locked. The reality of some urban areas may require exterior cast iron window railings. Ask authorities for advice if you are new to the area. Smaller sheriff and police departments may offer a free home inspection to citizens to help identify problem areas. Other similar evaluations can be obtained by locksmiths and home security system companies.

Outside Lighting

Once the installation of locks on doors and windows is complete, it's time to turn our efforts toward maximizing the view of our home's doors and windows from the street and from our neighbors' homes. Burglars prefer to work in unseen anonymity, so any actions we take should seek to add light and sight to our home. Trim back landscaping shrubs that might block doors or windows. Place door lights high enough so that a would-be burglar cannot simply unscrew the bulb to work in peace. Ground level lawn lights can be pointed to illuminate selected doors and windows on a rotating basis. Finally, motion detection lights are a relatively inexpensive means of lighting dark areas and putting thieves on notice that you might be watching them.

Inside Lights & Sounds

Having addressed the issue of outside lighting, use timers to routinely turn on inside lights at dusk during the winter months, or for the evening if you will be away for the night. Most burglaries occur during the daytime, however, when residents are assumed to be at work. So, some authorities suggest keeping a radio playing softly to provide some noise, and others recommend keeping answering machines turned down so that an outsider would not be able to hear an unanswered telephone ringing. Dogs are also effective at letting a potential intruder know that there is a living being in the home and they need not be attack-trained snarling German Shepherds to serve their purpose. If your lifestyle precludes the proper care of a dog, look into a burglar-deterrent doorbell ringer that mimics the sound of a snarling pooch.

A Home Safe

If a crook has determined that your doorbell is fake, you are actually at work despite the background music and is able to find a way into your residence, there are still interventions that can protect your valuables -- if you have preplanned. Depending upon the size you choose, a home safe can hold important papers, a home inventory, your home insurance policy, cash or jewelry. To be effective, a home safe should be anchored to the floor or a stable shelf unit and fire-resistant. Use the safe often so that storing valuable items becomes a habit and not a special event. Finally, change the code occasionally.


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